Sunderland City Council offered £1,000 apology to foster father

Sunderland Civic Centre.
Sunderland Civic Centre.

A foster father who took in his niece and nephew was offered a £1,000 apology by council bosses after complaining about his treatment by social workers.

The man, identified only as Mr B, claimed Sunderland City Council’s response was “insincere” and hadn’t offered enough cash.

But the government’s independent complaints service disagreed, saying it was satisfied with the council’s response.

The details of the case have been revealed after the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) published a report of its findings.

According to this, Mr B made several complaints to the council, including:

* That the council had refused to allow him to make a complaint on behalf of his niece, referred to as Y and who has since returned to her mother’s care;

* His treatment “as a foster carer”;

* The handling of his previous complaints;

* That the council refused to change the social worker for H, another child he fosters, and that he was not given enough information about plans for H after he turned 18.

However, following initial investigations, the ombudsman refused to take the case any further, deciding instead the council had acted appropriately.

On his niece, Y, the LGSCO ruled as he had no “parental responsibility” he could not complain on her behalf and that the council responded properly to concerns he raised about her care with her mother.

It also said the council’s apology to him had been “appropriate” and the “financial remedy” within recommended guidelines.

On his issues with the care of H, the ombudsman agreed there had been no reason to change his social worker “particularly as H did not want a change”.

Finally, the ombudsman declined to investigate plans for after H turned 18 as it was satisfied the council had already done this and partly agreed with Mr B.

Following the publication of the findings, a council spokesman said: “The council aims to always resolve complaints satisfactorily.

“However, there are situations where we cannot always provide people with the outcome they would like.

“In line with our complaints procedures, we do advise people of their right to progress their complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman should they remain dissatisfied.

“The council has noted the Ombudsman’s findings on these matters.”

James Harrison, Local Democracy Reporting Service